CLEARWATER, Fla. (March 7, 2006) - The University of Connecticut baseball team dropped a heartbreaker to Jacksonville University 7-6 in extra innings on Tuesday night. The team teams battled until the 10th inning, but Jacksonville came out on top with a run walked in with two outs remaining in the bottom of the final inning. The loss brings the Huskies record to 5-3 while the Dolphins improve to 13-3.
UConn began the scoring early in the game with a run scored in the top of the first. Senior Bryan Maler (Ansonia, Conn.) recorded a leadoff single for his first of three hits in the game. He would score two at-bats later off a single by junior Josh Farkes (Boston, Mass.) to notch the teams first run of the game.
Both teams would remain scoreless until the fifth inning when UConn scored two more runs to increase its lead to 3-0. Junior Dennis Donovan (Center Moriches, N.Y.) started in the inning off with a single. Maler advanced him to second after being hit by a pitch. A sacrifice bunt by Dale Brannon (St. Petersburg, Fla.) would advance both the runners into scoring position. Senior Austin Wasserman (Nashua, N.H.) tallied his two RBI on a single into right field that scored Donovan and Maler.
The Dolphins tied the score at three with a productive fifth inning of their own. The team scored three runs off of five hits. A series of stolen bases helped Jacksonville to advance around the bases.
UConn regained the lead in the sixth, scoring two runs on three hits. Pat Mahoney (Des Moines, Iowa) doubled to left field to start the inning. Matt Karl (Wallingford, Conn.) reached on a fielding error in the next at-bat, putting two runners on base. Erik Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) walked to load the bases for Donovan. The junior shortstop singled to center field, scoring Mahoney and advancing the runners. Maler followed with another single to center to score Karl and help the Huskies to take the lead, 5-3.
The Dolphins were scoreless in the sixth inning, but did not remain silent for long. In the bottom of the seventh, Jacksonville scored three runs to take the lead, 6-5. Pete Clifford singled up the middle in the teams second at-bat of the inning to set his team in motion. Teammate Daniel Murphy followed with a single to left field to keep the momentum going. Clifford scored from second on a single to right field by Gordie Gronkowski. A sacrifice fly to left by Mike McCallister would score Murphy for the teams second run of the inning. The final run came on a single to left by Matt Lopez that scored Gronkowski.
UConn evened the score at 6-6 in the top of the ninth. Brannon reached on a bunt and advanced to second base on a throwing error. Farkes got to first on a fielding error by Jacksonvilles shortstop. The play also advanced Brannon to third base. Junior co-captain Larry Day (Amesbury, Mass.) hit a sac fly to center to drive in Brannon and even the score.
The game went into extra innings, but the Huskies were unable to score. The bottom of the 10th started off with a hit batter for the Dolphins, putting the eventual game-winner on base. The Huskies would record two outs, but two consecutive walks scored the Dolphins final run and sealed the win for Jacksonville.
The Huskies are next in action on Wednesday afternoon against Yale in Bradenton, Fla.